The National Productivity Council and the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management will evaluate the government's soil health card scheme that seeks to cover 12 crore farmers across the country.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had asked the department to engage third parties for evaluating the progress made under this scheme that was launched in 2015.
The National Productivity Council (NPC) and the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) have been roped in for this purpose, according to government sources.
Nodal officers of the rank of joint secretary in the ministry and additional nodal officers of director level are visiting states to monitor this scheme and other flagship programmes like crop insurance scheme, the source said.
In 2015, the government had introduced the Soil Health Card Scheme to evaluate fertility in all farm holdings across the country and issue cards to farmers regularly in a cycle of two years.
The cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil as well as recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be used to boost soil health.
Initially, the government had targeted to issue cards to 14 crore farmers but now it will be issued to 12 crore farmers as states revised the data based on 2011 census.
So far, soil health cards have been issued to over 9 crore farmers across the country. As many as 16 states like Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra have done 100 per cent.
Excessive use of highly subsidised urea has affected soil health in many parts of the country and therefore the government is focusing on balanced use of fertilisers to boost productivity and production of crops.
The National Productivity Council, established in 1958, is under the Commerce and Industry ministry and promotes the cause of productivity in all sectors of the Indian economy.
The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, also known as MANAGE, was established in 1987 at Hyderabad by the Agriculture Ministry as an autonomous institute.
The institute was set up to deal with challenges of agricultural extension in a rapidly growing and diverse farm sector. It offers services in the following five areas -- management training, consultancy, management education research and information services.
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